Southwest Gas Holdings Inc. is prepared to test hydrogen blending in natural gas infrastructure as it prepares to play a part in the burgeoning U.S. hydrogen economy.
The firm, which distributes natural gas in Arizona, California, and Nevada, is collaborating with Arizona State University and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, to establish two hydrogen blending pilot projects.
Southwest Gas will use the two pilot projects to evaluate the best hydrogen-natural gas blend for safety and the environment, as well as the physical effects of hydrogen on distribution system infrastructure and common gas appliances. In addition, the company will investigate the economics of hydrogen and its effects on heating times when combined with natural gas. Southwest Gas plans to investigate hydrogen blends of up to 20% in closed gas systems at training facilities in Tempe, Ariz., and Henderson, Nev.
The initiatives will commence in the fourth quarter. According to the company, the first phase will take several months and will assist establish the scope and duration of future phases.
According to research, hydrogen poses the biggest pipeline integrity danger when present at high pressure and concentrations in specific steel pipes. Low-pressure distribution systems provide less risk, and distributors with a high proportion of plastic pipe are thought to be better positioned for acceptance. According to a Market Intelligence review of US Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration data, roughly 86 percent of Southwest Gas’ system mileage in 2019 was made up of plastic pipe.